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[ fee-niks ] [ ˈfi nɪks ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity.

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More about phoenix

Phoenix, “a person who has become restored after suffering calamity,” comes from Ancient Greek phoînix, which refers to the mythical bird, and this is where matters become murky. One popular proposal in the linguistic community is that phoînix comes from Ancient Egyptian bnw, the name of a heron represented as the god Benu. An alternative theory—a less broadly accepted one—is based on the fact that Ancient Greek had four phoînix words, meaning “phoenix,” “Phoenician,” “dark red,” and “date palm,” respectively. According to this theory, all four words are one and the same, though whether these phoînix words are of Indo-European, Semitic, or lost ancient Mediterranean origin is anyone’s guess. Phoenix was first recorded in English before 900.

how is phoenix used?

The shell of St Michael’s survives today, the intact steeple presiding over a Gothic amphitheatre, a still-consecrated place linked to its successor, Sir Basil Spence’s concrete-framed cathedral completed in 1962. This is a phoenix from the ashes, full of powerful modern stained glass.

Jonathan Foyle, “Glass from the past,” Financial Times, December 14, 2012

Jiwoo is a tough girl whose world is turned upside down …. Her bereavement and anguish are a result of the emotional turmoil she experiences before and after her father’s death. But she is a fighter. Although humiliated and mistreated, she rises from the ashes like a phoenix.

Debashree Dutta, “Actor You Need to Know: Han So-hee,” Rolling Stone: India, June 13, 2022
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[ gam-bohj, -boozh ] [ gæmˈboʊdʒ, -ˈbuʒ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


yellow or yellow-orange.

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More about gamboge

Gamboge, “yellow-orange,” comes from New Latin gambogium, a gum resin from trees of the genus Garcinia that is made into a yellow pigment or dye, also called gamboge. Gambogium is a variant of Cambogia “Cambodia,” which comes from the Khmer name Kâmpŭchéa. The name Kâmpŭchéa allegedly derives from Kambu, the name of the legendary founder of Kamboja, which is a kingdom that flourished in what is now India about 2500 years ago. Gamboge was first recorded in English circa 1630.

how is gamboge used?

I’m thinking gamboge: ‘My husband is very confident about my color sense. It is powerful, if I say so myself’ …. [Theresa] Rebeck was in charge of what went into the spaces and what went on the walls.

Joanne Kaufman, “For One Playwright, It Wouldn’t Be Home Without a Little Melodrama,” The New York Times, September 17, 2019

“That’s a lovely shade of nail varnish …. What color would you say it is?” …. “Tropical topaz? …. I wouldn’t have thought topaz so much as amber” … “I’d say more gamboge than amber.”

Kevin Myers, “An Irishman's Diary”, The Irish Times, August 15, 2002
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[ suh-pon-uh-fahy ] [ səˈpɒn əˌfaɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to become converted into soap.

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More about saponify

Saponify, “to become converted into soap,” is based on Latin sāpō (stem sāpōn-) “soap” and the combining form -ify, from Latin facere (stems fac-, fact-, -fect, and -fic-) “to do, make.” Sāpō is the source of the word for “soap” in many Romance languages, from French savon and Italian sapone to Portuguese sabão and Spanish jabón. Latin sāpō is an early borrowing from Frankish, a Germanic language once spoken in what is now France, which makes sāpō a close relative of English soap and a distant relative of Latin sēbum “tallow, grease” (as in sebaceous). Saponify was first recorded in English circa 1820.

how is saponify used?

They can sometimes saponify, where the body fats literally turn into a soaplike substance, but that takes quite a while–months–so I doubt it has happened here.

Vanda Symon, Containment, 2009

Soap was rarely used, apart from washing one’s clothes, and they were made from wood ash lye to saponify animal fat. The resultant odor was not much better than body odor before bath. Thankfully, they added rose petals to the bathwater.

Amelia Danver, A Savior in Time, 2021
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